Acquia

What HP Veteran Michael Sullivan Brings to the Acquia DNA [Nov. 15. 2017]

Submitted on
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
,
CMS Connected

By Venus Tamturk

Acquia, a Drupal-based open source content management system provider, named Michael Sullivan as Chief Executive Officer, effective in December 2017. Acquia has been searching for a new CEO since its former CEO Tom Erickson announced six months ago, that he would step down from his role when a new business partner is found. To determine their new CEO, Acquia's board of directors screened over 140 candidates and interviewed 10 in-depth. While they were in the search for a new CEO, the enterprise software company has tried an unconventional management style namely “an Office of the CEO” where Erickson and co-founder Dries Buytaert jointly run Acquia.

Following the announcement, I reached out to the newly appointed CEO to learn what attracted him to Acquia as a career opportunity: "As a Boston native, I have always known Acquia to be a prominent and respected tech leader. When I was introduced to Dries, it became clear that we shared an excitement for the future of technology and the content management world. I’m thrilled to join a company that has a winner’s DNA, and is poised for huge growth as it tackles the evolving market of digital experience," said Sullivan. I also wanted to hear what the areas of focus will be within his new role to address any challenges he feels Acquia customers are facing. Sullivan told me that "Acquia is already on track to address the major demands of brands looking to deliver engaging digital experiences. Dries and the team have a vision for building intelligent digital experiences leveraging emerging technology. My role will be focused on bringing that strategy to life—ensuring sound execution so that Acquia is able to turn vision to reality."

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Former Micro Focus exec joins Acquia as CEO [Nov. 15, 2017]

Submitted on
Thursday, November 16, 2017
,
Computerworld

By Rohan Pearce

Michael Sullivan has joined Boston-based tech company Acquia as the company’s chief executive officer.

Prior to taking on the CEO role at Acquia, Sullivan oversaw the information management and governance product portfolio at Micro Focus. He joined Micro Focus when the company acquired HP Enterprise’s software arm.

Sullivan succeeds Tom Erickson, whose planned departure from Acquia was announced in May.

Acquia was co-founded by Dries Buytaert, who created the open source Drupal web platform. Buytaert is the company’s chief technology officer and Acquia revealed that in addition to retaining the CTO role, he has been appointed chairman.

“Mike is one of the most dynamic technology leaders I have met,” Buytaert said in a statement. “Like me, he founded a company in his twenties which he has led ever since. His deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges faced by large global enterprises aligns perfectly with Acquia’s focus on providing data-driven customer journey solutions to organizations that have ambitious digital aspirations and challenges.”

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Q&A: New CEO bets on open source future for Acquia CMS [Nov. 14, 2017]

Submitted on
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
,
TechTarget

By Don Fluckinger

On Monday, cloud CMS vendor Acquia Inc. announced Michael Sullivan, former Hewlett Packard Enterprise senior vice president and general manager for SaaS, has been named the company's new CEO. Sullivan will move into the position next month.

SearchContentManagement interviewed Sullivan and Acquia co-founder Dries Buytaert, who was also the lead developer on the open source Drupal content management system, upon which the Acquia CMS is based. Buytaert remains Acquia's CTO and also takes over as board chair.

Dries, according to your blog, there were more than 140 candidates to succeed longtime CEO Tom Erickson. How did Acquia choose Michael Sullivan?

Dries Buytaert: There are a lot of reasons. First of all, there's a very good fit with Mike. That's not just a good fit between him and me, but also to our culture and personality and how we think about different things, like the importance of cloud and open source. I also felt Mike was really well-prepared to lead our business. Mike has 25 years [of] experience with software as a service, enterprise content management and content governance. Mike has worked with small companies, as well as larger companies.

At HP Enterprise and Micro Focus [acquired by HPE], Mike was responsible for managing more than 30 SaaS products. Acquia is evolving its product strategy to go beyond Drupal and the cloud to become a multiproduct company with Acquia Digital Asset Manager and Acquia Journey. So, our own transformation as a company is going from a single-product company to a multiproduct company. Mike is uniquely qualified to help us with that, based on his experience.

Mike, why was it a fit for you, and what excites you about the market position of the Acquia CMS and the company's future as a cloud CMS provider?

Michael Sullivan: I've been involved in both [enterprise] content management and web content management during the course of my career, so it's not new to me. I've always found it interesting and have had a lot of success in this space, broadly. There's a fundamental shift that's occurring in the content management world, where people are moving from static web presence to a different model of engaging with their customers -- an intelligent digital experience.

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Acquia Names Michael Sullivan Chief Executive Officer [Nov. 13, 2017]

Submitted on
Monday, November 13, 2017
,
CMS Critic

By Mike Johnston

Acquia today announced the selection of Michael Sullivan as Chief Executive Officer, effective in December 2017. Sullivan, 52, has extensive experience in building market-leading, high-growth SaaS organizations and has led the acquisition and integration of numerous companies over the course of his career. He brings to Acquia 25 years of focused experience in content management, archival solutions, electronic discovery and enterprise content governance solutions, and joins Acquia as the company marks its 10th anniversary as a pioneer in cloud-based, open source web content management.

Sullivan joins Acquia from Micro Focus, where he participated in the merger of Micro Focus with Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s software business. The combined company became the world’s seventh largest pure-play software company and the largest UK technology firm listed on the London Stock Exchange.1 Sullivan was responsible for the information management and governance product portfolio both at Micro Focus and at HP, where he was senior VP and GM for SaaS. Prior to joining HP, he led the Protect business unit at Autonomy, which delivered risk and compliance solutions to Fortune 1000 companies. He joined Autonomy through the acquisition of Zantaz, where he was senior VP of operations and services. Sullivan was the founder and CEO of Steelpoint Technologies, a pioneer in technologies for the intelligent management of unstructured information.

He will succeed Tom Erickson, as part of the succession plan announced in May. Erickson will continue as a member of the board of directors. As part of the succession plan, Acquia Co-founder Dries Buytaert will be elevated to chairman, and will serve in that capacity in addition to his duties as CTO. Buytaert is also founder and project lead of Drupal, the open source web content management system he created in 2001.

“Mike is one of the most dynamic technology leaders I have met,” Buytaert said. “Like me, he founded a company in his twenties which he has led ever since. His deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges faced by large global enterprises aligns perfectly with Acquia’s focus on providing data-driven customer journey solutions to organizations that have ambitious digital aspirations and challenges.”

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Acquia, rumored to be eyeing an IPO, names new CEO [Nov. 13, 2017]

Submitted on
Monday, November 13, 2017
,
Boston Business Journal

Software firm Acquia Inc., among the top candidates to be Boston's next public tech company, has named a new CEO after a months-long search.

Boston-based Acquia said on Monday that Michael Sullivan will take over as CEO in December, replacing Tom Erickson, who announced his plan to step down back in May. Erickson will stay on Acquia’s board.

Since then, Acquia's co-founder and chief technology officer, Dries Buytaert, has taken on an expanded leadership role. Buytaert will now become chairman of the company’s board and retain the CTO title.

Sullivan co-founded Boston-based Steelpoint Technologies Inc., a software firm focused on managing content for legal and regulatory compliance, in the early 1990s. Through a series of mergers and acquisitions Steelpoint, and Sullivan, became part of Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

After HPE last year announced it would spin off parts of its software business and merge them with Micro Focus, Sullivan became a senior vice president and general manager at the combined, publicly traded company.

“Mike is one of the most dynamic technology leaders I have met,” Buytaert said in a prepared statement. “Like me, he founded a company in his 20s which he has led ever since.”

Acquia, which has raised $173.5 million in funding to date, has long floated the idea of going public, although it has not yet filed the necessary paperwork with the SEC indicating that it's actively planning to do so. Kathleen Smith, a principal at Renaissance Capital, a manager of IPO exchange traded funds, said in an interview this fall that her firm has Acquia on a list of potential 2018 IPOs.

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New Data Platforms for Intelligent Marketing [Nov. 9, 2017]

Submitted on
Thursday, November 16, 2017
,
Flarrio

"Marketers are frustrated that current martech operates in silos, resulting in fragmented campaigns. Going forward, marketers will demand platforms that unify all channels, making it easier to leverage data to execute seamless campaigns." -- Christopher Stone

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Acquia Engage 2017—Enabling Omnichannel Digital Customer Journeys [Nov. 6, 2017]

Submitted on
Monday, November 6, 2017
,
TEC - Technology Evaluation Centers

By PJ

The digital experience software platform provider Acquia celebrated its 10th year anniversary this year, and so the Acquia Engage 2017 conference in Boston had special meaning. This post takes a look at the vendor’s history, and recent product moves and developments announced at the conference that enable Acquia’s clients to provide omnichannel digital customer journeys.

About Acquia
Acquia was founded in 2008 to be the “Red Hat” of web content management system (CMS) and ecommerce software based on the open source platform Drupal. The original business model focused on providing commercial-level support to Drupal (as Red Hat does for Linux and other open source enterprise infrastructure platforms) and accompanying professional services given Drupal’s toolkit nature and flexibility (as Drupal requires some knowledge on how to use its components).

In its first decade of existence, Acquia has grown to an impressive $153 million in revenues in 2016 (with its executives at Engage predicting the vendor will end this year at $175 million.), nearly 800 employees, 14 offices worldwide, and marquee customers such as IBM, Nestlé, NBC Sports, AMD, Kronos, and YMCA.

One of the marquee customers featured this year was the local Massachusetts State Government, with 76% of its constituents engaging with agencies through the government’s Mass.gov website. With most of the commonwealth interacting with the government digitally, there is a need for a secure and scalable digital platform that can be deployed to many different websites and that can handle different issues for constituents. In fact, lots of Acquia customers have a loose federation of websites that need to deliver content to their distinct audiences.

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Includes:
Drupal 8 Traits
From CMS to Connected Omnichannel Customer Journeys
The Next Customer Journey Explained
What Makes Customer Journeys Possible?
Node.js Mobile User Experience
Related Reading

A New Chapter for Acquia [May 23, 2017]

Submitted on
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
,
Acquia.com

By Tom Erickson on May 23, 2017

I first met Dries Buytaert in the summer of 2007. Michael Skok, who was incubating the company, persuaded me to take a board seat at a new company in the process of being formed by Jay Batson and Dries. Dries was 29 years old, living and working in Belgium, and passionate about bringing his open source content management system -- Drupal -- to the world.

I turned down Jay and Dries’ initial offer to join them at the company they were creating and be the CEO - opting to join the board and focus on helping the company strategically. Later in 2008 they repeated their request for me to be the CEO. I had gotten to know Dries much better in the meantime and realized that he was much more than just the talented technical creator of Drupal. He was thirsty for knowledge about how to build a business; his curiosity ran from business strategy to customer success, from product positioning to financial planning. I asked Dries what he hoped from me if I were to join. He told me:

  • He never wanted to feel like he had a boss - he wanted to have a partner
  • He wanted to make a difference and have fun doing it
  • He only ever wanted to work for this company, and someday he wanted to run it.

Well, I wasn’t exactly perfect on the first point, but I can confidently say that we built a tremendous partnership. Dries and I have accomplished a lot in the past nine years together. Throughout this time I always kept the third point in mind -- it is a personal passion of mine to pass along the leadership lessons I was fortunate to gain from my mentors early in my career -- and after growing the company to more than 750 people and $150MM+ in revenue the time has come for Dries to realize his vision of running the company he founded.

Together, Dries and I have celebrated Acquia’s being named the fastest growing private software company in Deloitte’s 2013 Fast 500, and being the highest ranked software company in the 2012 Inc. 500 rankings. We introduced thousands of companies to the cloud, to open source, to Drupal ... most for the first time. We grew from our first small office in Andover, Massachusetts to having sales offices in seven countries around the world and customers in more than 40. We built a “follow the sun” support team that spans five time zones around the world, supporting the most demanding and ambitious digital experiences that exist.

As measured and judged by the leading industry analysts, Acquia’s success has been rapid and undeniable. Forrester Research gave Acquia the highest score for strategy this year, naming us a “leader” in their 2017 Web Content Management wave. Gartner named us a leader for the second year in a row in their 2016 WCM Magic Quadrant.

In a recent meeting with us, an analyst stated the “Symbiosis that Drupal has achieved with the business community is phenomenal”.

The road hasn’t always been clear nor smooth. We haven’t always gotten it right but we learned to to pivot after our first ideas did not work out as planned, For example: in 2008, we had a strategic offsite meeting where we came up with the ideas for two new products, codenamed “Fields” and “Gardens.” I regard that strategy session as where the key seeds were sown for the company’s future. Shortly, we began to acquire customers and the revenue we needed to realize that vision set forth in that first offsite.

Advance the clock forward to the present. “Fields” evolved into Acquia Cloud. Acquia Cloud defined an entirely new business model in the software world that paired open source and the cloud, an often-imitated success model followed today in other sectors and by our competitors. “Gardens” evolved into Site Factory, Acquia’s unique platform for building thousands of sites from a shared code base that not only lowers costs, decreases time to market and offers multi site governance for many of the world’s largest brands, but now powers some of the world’s greatest global consumers brands to national governments.. There simply is nothing like Site Factory when it comes to delivering massive projects around the world in multiple languages, across decentralized multi-brand conglomerates with the need for unified data, regulatory compliance, confidence in security and personalization in real-time across devices we couldn’t have conceived of nearly a decade ago.

The biggest highlight for me of the past decade has been working with the amazing team that we assembled, both presently and along the way. I love nothing more than helping to grow “up and comers” and have great pride in the heights that our team has reached.

Secondly, I have taken great satisfaction in the caliber of the customers we’ve served so successfully. Our customer conference -- Acquia Engage -- has featured executives on the stage from IBM, NASDAQ, Nestle, Tesla, NBC, McKesson, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and many more. The feeling of pride for what Acquia has done for its customers, partners and employees is indescribable. I have been told by some that their work with Acquia has been the best experience they’ve ever had with any technology vendor. These are the successes that confirm our dreams and vision for Acquia. If I have a hope for how my record at Acquia will come to be regarded, I hope it is for my undying passion for customer success, and for our amazing culture of “committed to awesome.”

With this success behind us, this is a perfect time for Dries to assume a larger role. He has a vision for digital experience management that one industry analyst recently called “game changing”. He’s learned a tremendous amount about the importance of customer success, business strategy and the mechanics of running a company.

Today we are formalizing the way that Dries and I have worked together from the beginning, forming an “Office of the CEO” from which Dries and I will jointly run the company. The board has named me Chairman. We are going to search for a new operating partner for Dries. When we locate that individual, I will be stepping down as CEO. Dries will focus on product areas, including product architecture and roadmap; technology partnerships and acquisitions; and company wide hiring and staffing allocations. I will continue to work with sales and marketing, customer success and G&A functions.

As Dries assumes a more prominent role, I’m excited for the company’s days ahead. He’s extremely talented, hard working, and deftly leads a community of tens of thousands of developers in addition to his contributions here at Acquia. I’m fully confident that Acquia and Drupal will continue to thrive under his leadership.

I’m not going far from Acquia. I’ll remain on the board of directors, the same place where I started in 2007. And in the spirit of Acquia’s DNA, I am looking forward to “Giving Back”. In the past two years, I have become involved a lot more growing the broader Boston tech community and I’m looking forward to rallying them around Acquia as an enduring business for Boston and beyond.

Dries’ blog on the next phase of Acquia can be found here.

Why Government Websites Suck so Much, according to Obama’s White House Webmaster [April 14, 2017]

Submitted on
Friday, April 14, 2017
,
Quartz

By Tom Cochran
Chief Digital Strategist, Acquia

Our interactions with government websites are often memorable for all the wrong reasons. Whether you’re trying to change your official address or applying for a local permit, you’re likely to see conflicting information, have to pinch-and-zoom a non-responsive design, or need a law degree to understand the five-paragraph disclaimer below a simple log-in form.

In a world where industry giants like Facebook run hundreds of user experience tests daily, why are our government websites so far behind the curve? I witnessed this problem first hand at the US Department of State and while running the White Houses’s digital technology initiatives under Obama. And I discovered that while change does not exactly happen overnight in these large bureaucracies, it is possible. And we, as frustrated citizens, should be demanding it.

The Trump administration is focused on upgrading a crumbling public infrastructure, proposing to invest $1 trillion over 10 years. Though not crumbling, our government’s digital infrastructure is weak and inferior. The systems through which we receive government services should be deemed as critical​ as our roads and bridges.

We must remember that our government is here to serve the people. Military jets should not fall out of the sky, filing taxes should not fail, and you should get your social-security benefits on time. Using internet services quickly and easily should be no different. Government websites exist to provide citizens with essential services and information, yet more often than not, it is difficult to find voter registration information or the form to pay your parking ticket.

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Brands Struggle to Deliver Personalised Experiences [April 10, 2017]

Submitted on
Monday, April 10, 2017
,
Digital Marketing Magazine

By Jonathan Davies

Despite the hype around ‘personalisation’ as a marketing trend, as many as 89% of brands report they can’t deliver personalised digital experiences, research by Acquia has found.

The research shows that attempts to deliver effective personalised experiences are being hampered because brands are struggling to get the basics right from both a technical and cultural point of view. For example, brands are struggling with a lack of insight into the preferences or identities of visitors (48%), lack of budget for the necessary technology (45%), lack of board buy-in (34%) and lack of content (33%).

These are the findings from the digital experience company Acquia’s new report, Beyond the Hype, which uncovers a huge divide between digital strategies and brands’ abilities to execute them.

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